Thursday, August 6, 2009

Innovative uses of the army

Ali writes in his blog today about the case of Agasif Shakiroglu, a young man who was first jailed for evading the draft. When this charge was rejected for its manifest absurdity, Agasif was simply inducted into the army. The mandatory service remains a real fear for many young men. I don't think it's that they are unpatriotic or opposed to serving their country. But the army in Azerbaijan - from what I have heard - still functions along the Soviet model. Abuse of soldiers is routine. At the very least, they are subjected to mind-numbing boredom. In some countries, mandatory service can be a time when soldiers receive a technical education. Perhaps this happens in Azerbaijan, but that's not what the men I talked to described.



In fact, the word 'innovative' is not appropriate here, because a few years ago, one promising opposition leader was suddenly summoned to army - the pretext was that he was an officer in reserve and army needed him. When he returned, he had no choice and was 'pocketed' by gov't.

Besides, Russian Empire was using that method - drafting political prisoners into standing army somewhere in Asian frontiers as ordinary soldiers.

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